Date - check!
Time - check!
Location - check!
What’s being celebrated - check!
All of the most important details on the list have been identified and checked off - congrats! Now...how do you actually plan an event for more than 10 people? While this can be daunting and a feeling of “I don’t know where to begin” sets in, let me offer a few tips and tricks I use for planning larger gatherings.
*Fun fact - these tips and tricks can totally be used when planning events from 2 to 2,000!*
Some questions to ask yourself to get the ball rolling:
1. What is the purpose of the event? Why are you celebrating?
2. What is the focus of the event? Is it a performance? Is it the food? Is it a speaking engagement?
3. What impression and experience are you wanting your guests to walk away with afterwards?
Answering these will definitely help you plan out the rest of the celebration. Knowing your WHY is most important as it guides the event planning process. I firmly believe every event has a similar bone structure and the flourishes and details are what makes it a celebratory event, an event of remembrance or a workplace, professional event.
Here’s what I mean by bone structure:
- How many guests are being invited vs. how many realistically will attend?
- Does the event require invitations? If so, are print or electronic invites more appropriate?
- Does the event require marketing of any kind?
- Where will the event be taking place (venue)?
- Does there need to be a place for guests to stay overnight?
- Does the event require rentals of any kind? i.e. tables, chairs, utensils, linens, etc.
- Will there be any entertainment?
- Does a caterer need to be hired?
- Does any part of the event require permitting? i.e. sounds permit, alcohol permit, fire permit, etc.
- Will there be any audiovisual needs? i.e. full sound system, lighting, speakers, microphones, etc.
- Are flowers or decorative plants needed?
- Does there need to be a registration table?
- Is there a need for security?
- Will there be give aways, raffles or swag bags?
- What kind of staffing will be present to ensure the event goes as smoothly as possible?
*Tip - First rule of event planning, no event will go exactly to plan. Breathe in, breathe out and roll with it.*
By asking yourself, your group or your committee those bone structure questions, you will already be miles ahead in your planning and it will be less likely that something major is overlooked. Moreover, asking those questions helps you to figure out where delegation needs to happen if it’s a group planning situation. If it’s a solo planning sesh, you have now created a to-do list and can begin chipping away at the most time sensitive pieces first.
*Tip - If time allows, start planning sooner than you think is necessary.*
I encourage you to revisit the WHY of the event often to not lose track of why you’re doing this in the first place. Event planning can be a lot of fun. Happy planning!